The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners unanimously approved the appointment of Tetra Jackson, current Vice Principal of Frederick Elementary School (FES), as the next FES principal, effective July 1, 2023.
BCP and its partner, Baltimore City Public Schools, conducted a thorough interview process including surveying stakeholders on the desired characteristics of the new leader for FES. The interview panel consisted of the BCP President and CEO, a BCP board member, community partner, current FES teacher, current FES parent, and current principal.
Ms. Jackson, a seasoned teacher and leader for Baltimore City Schools, has served FES since the school became a BCP neighborhood conversion charter school in 2017. Her motto, “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work,” underscores her belief that there’s nothing a team of individuals with a common goal can’t do.
We talked with Ms. Jackson about her new role and why she loves FES.
Q: What are you most excited about with your new role?
A: I am most excited about being more immersed in instruction. As an instruction leader, being in the classroom where teaching and learning is going on will be the best part of my job.
Q: You began at FES in 2017 as assistant principal with Harold Henry, Jr. as principal. Talk about your proudest moments helping to lead the school.
A: Although I have a plethora of proud moments, one that warms my heart is when our students began to speak back, and even speak first. We have always greeted our students throughout the day, whenever and wherever we see them. When we first opened the doors in 2017, our students would look at us strangely and many would not even respond. By November 2017, our students were not only speaking back, they spoke first. To approach a student in the early days of The New FES, and hear them say hello to me first was a super win. I knew that our vision for a kind and supportive culture was in the making. It was undeniable that what we were doing was working and it inspired me to remain consistent.
Q: What excited you about joining FES in 2017 as Vice Principal for BCP’s neighborhood conversion charter school? You had already been a principal at Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary/Middle School and Harford Heights Elementary School.
A: There were two reasons I joined FES in 2017. Harold was one. While working with him as a principal, I knew that he was the type of leader I would work well with. We shared common values and work ethic. I respected him and I believed we would be the perfect match to lead a school. We compliment each other well.
The second reason is that FES was a BCP school. I have worked in traditional Baltimore City schools, and I wanted an opportunity to work for a charter like BCP with a great reputation for supporting their schools and accelerating student learning. Harold spoke highly of BCP, so I was certainly interested in the opportunity to lead a BCP school with him.
Q: What are your plans for the coming school year to continue FES’s successes and meet its challenges?
A: My initial and most prioritized plan is to strategically manage people, time, and money to close the reading gap of our students who are not yet reading at grade level. I’d also like to develop an active Parent Leadership Group to support the home-school connection.
Q: In your words, what is the FES Way?
The FES way is the way of integrity, kindness, grit, passion, support, ambition, leadership, self-reflection, etc. I could go on, but I’ll stop there. I think you get the gist.
Words of Support from Principal Henry:
Tetra is a proven instructional leader. She has a deep knowledge and understanding of standards and the implementation of effective instructional strategies to meet them. Her laser focus on instruction is what is needed for FES at this crucial time when we are seeking to capitalize on the academic progress that has been made to date. She is best suited to grow instructional staff to become highly effective practitioners. In addition, Tetra is an excellent manager. She is highly organized and attentive to details. She will increase and improve accountability across all school operations; aligning everything to the vision. I am grateful that she continues to share the vision for FES and will further efforts to develop leaders at all levels.
What’s Next for Ms. Jackson and the BCP Principal Network?
Mr. Henry’s transition to the BCP Chief of Schools role, a new position for BCP covering a range of school operations and issues, affords him the opportunity to support the development of the whole BCP network. “One of the most exciting elements of the role that I am looking forward to is the opportunity to observe and learn from each of the BCP principals,” notes Mr. Henry. “We have an outstanding roster of school leaders who lead their school communities in distinctive ways. As a student of leaders and leadership, I am looking forward to working with our leaders to explore the possibilities to take the network to greater heights of achievement and effectiveness in transforming the communities we serve. I believe that is the catalyst for expansion and increased influence that BCP seeks to achieve over the next few years.”
Ms. Jackson’s experience and expertise will play an integral role at FES and across the BCP network of neighborhood conversion charter schools.
Congratulations, Ms. Jackson!
About Tetra Jackson
- Frederick Elementary’s vice principal from 2017 until June 30, 2023
- Principal, Frederick Elementary beginning July 1, 2023
- Began her teaching career in 1999 as a second grade Baltimore Resident Teacher at North Bend Elementary/Middle School
- Has served City Schools as an Instructional Support Teacher (IST), Academic Dean, Assistant Principal, and Principal at Dr. Rayner Browne Elementary/Middle School and Harford Heights Elementary School
- B.S. in General Science, Coppin State University
- M.Ed. in Administration & Supervision, The College of Notre Dame of Maryland